(Reuters) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a bid by General Motors Co. on reviving its racketeering lawsuit against rival automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, now part of Stellantis NV, over bribery allegations involving the United Auto Workers union.
The justices rejected an appeal by General Motors of a lower court’s dismissal of its lawsuit accusing Fiat Chrysler of bribing union officials in an effort to undermine GM and push the Detroit-based automaker into a merger with FCA.
GM filed a civil suit in 2019 under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a law designed to target organized crime, alleging that FCA bribed UAW union officials over many years to corrupt the bargaining process and gain benefits, costing GM billions of dollars . GM sought an estimated $6 billion in damages.
A federal judge in Michigan dismissed the lawsuit in 2020, saying GM̵7;s alleged damages were not legally caused by FCA’s conduct. The Cincinnati-based 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals in August agreed.
“Even accepting GM’s theory as true, the chain of causation between FCA’s bribery and GM’s injury remains too attenuated,” the 6th Circuit wrote.
A separate federal corruption investigation led to at least 17 criminal convictions, including former FCA employees and two former UAW presidents, after FCA and UAW officials admitted to misappropriating funds for their personal benefit, using the funds for liquor, cigars, golf outings and expensive hotel stays.
In 2021, FCA US was placed on probation after pleading guilty to making more than $3.5 million in illegal payments to UAW officials. The FCA paid a $30 million fine while the UAW agreed to independent oversight to resolve the US Justice Department’s investigation.